A strong earthquake occurred about 250 miles (405 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida at 8:56 AM MDT, Sep 10, 2006 (10:56 AM EDT in Florida). The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. This earthquake was felt in parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. No reports of damage or casualties have been received at this time.
This earthquake was centered beneath the Gulf of Mexico, well distant from the nearest active plate boundary. Such "midplate" earthquakes are much less common than earthquakes occurring on faults near plate boundaries, and most probably represent the release of long-term tectonic stresses that ultimately originate from forces applied at the plate boundary. This is the largest of more than a dozen shocks that have been instrumentally recorded from the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the past three decades, and it is the most widely felt. The most recent significant earthquake in the region occurred on February 10th, 2006 and had a magnitude of 5.2. We have not associated this earthquake with a specific causative fault.
Earthquakes of this magnitude are unlikely to generate destructive tsunami. No significant tsunami was generated by this earthquake.
End of release information
I can tell you that I did not feel the earthquake at Mt. Cheaha. In fact, the weather on Mt. Cheaha has been very pleasant with an afternoon high on only 80 degrees.
We’re enjoying a weekend camping at Cheaha State Park, so one of the things we planned to do was take a drive on a beautiful late summer Sunday. And I had just the right route. During the last week I selected a Pick City entry for Delta, AL, and Delta is just down the hill (read that mountain) from Mt. Cheaha. So it was easy to plot a route taking SR 281 from Mt. Cheaha to SR 49 to Lineville where we could pick up SR 9 north through Delta to Hollis Crossroads. There we would take US 431 north toward Anniston but cut off where US 431 intersects with 281 for the scenic return to Cheaha State Park.
We left shortly before lunch time because I know of a good barbecue place along the route for a leisurely lunch. 281 is very scenic as you leave Cheaha traveling about five miles before turning onto SR 49. My wife had popped a favorite story telling tape in the car radio so we had some good listening as well as pretty scenery. SR 49 heads south toward Lineville going through the rolling hills just below Mt. Cheaha.
You probably know that the official start of Fall is only about two weeks away – September 22nd – but I was struck by the lack of any visible signs that Fall is really that close. In the state park, there is an occasional small tree that has some red color but aside from a dead tree here and there, there is no sign that the trees will be changing color at all.
In Lineville we stopped at the Piggly Wiggly for a couple of grocery items for tonight’s supper. Picking up SR 9 we stopped at Partner’s Pit Barbecue for lunch. The parking lot was nearly full but once inside we got a table by the window right away. The pork plate looked good so we both ordered that along with a couple of side items. My wife went with Crowder peas which is a favorite but one you don’t see on menus much. I had a hankering for baked beans. And when the meals arrived, the sides were just great along with good barbecue, too. The real surprise was that every meal came with dessert. A lady was walking among the tables offering a variety of desserts. We both picked what looked like peach cobbler but the first spoonful revealed a surprise – it was really sweet potato cobbler. And boy was it good – a taste sensation neither of us had ever had before.
Feeling an oncoming urgent need for an afternoon nap, we drove briskly north on SR 9 through Delta to Hollis Crossroads and US 431. Just north of Hollis Crossroads we saw the Haunted Chicken House which is a big attraction come October as Halloween approaches. I understand it is quite a scary experience to go through that one which gets bigger and better every year.
Just after the turn to join 281 I had seen a number of donkeys including a very young one. Being an avid digital camera enthusiast – as opposed to a real photographer – I thought they might make excellent subjects, so I pulled off the road and walked to the fence with the camera in hand.
I assume they were interested in having their picture made because as I approached the fence they mosied over to say hello. There were four of them altogether and they were not shy coming close enough to get a little petting. I snapped several great shots (my opinion, of course). The young one had a very dark face and the most curious light colored ears – that’s the color of the fur on the inside of his ears. The coloring of each of the donkeys was interesting, too, with a white ring around their muzzles.
Once on 281 Mt. Cheaha becomes visible at various spots along the road. It was rather hazy as it has been for much of the last couple of months that we’ve been coming to Cheaha State Park. The haze did not deter me from stopping several times to get shots of Alabama’s highest point.
All in all the trip took a little less than three hours and was a joyous adventure into seeing the country side of East Alabama.
PS Just to be sure this is weather related, the weather for the Sunday drive was perfect.
They are most numerous over West Central Alabama...across Peickens, Greene, Hale and Tuscaloosa Counties.
The mains cells are just northeast and southwest of Tuscaloosa. There is pretty good coverage over Hale County, although it is not very heavy.
Showers are bubbling over Shelby and Southwest Jefferson County.
One of the stronger storms, although it is small like the others, is 5 miles NW of Columbiana in Shelby County.
A moderate shower is having a hard time getting going just east of Vincent.
Showers and storms will continue to form and pulse up and then down quickly through the afternoon hours and into the evening.
Skies were partly cloudy across the area, with th ebest cumulus buildups generally in the I-20 corridor.
Temperatures were mainly in the upper 80s. Hour by hour readings had reached 89F at the Birmingham Airport. A few locations certainly reached 90 today.
On September 10th...
…1928…the disturbance that would go on to become the deadly San Felipe Hurricane was first detected from a ship report near 48 west longitude. It would eventually become a powerful hurricane and devastate the island of Guadeloupe. It struck Puerto Rico on the 13th, which was the feast of San Felipe. Correspondingly, the storm was named the San Felipe Hurricane. On the 16th, it struck Palm Beach, Florida. Over 1,000 people would die in the Caribbean and 1,836 died in the Everglades.
…1944…the East Coast of the United States was under attack. But not by the nations of the Axis. By a hurricane. Weather Bureau hurricane forecaster Grady Norton (an Alabama native thank you) was concerned. There was a big hurricane north of Puerto Rico, but ships had gotten out of the way and no reports were available to Norton. Norton requested that the military fly flights into the storm to determine its severity. The Navy and Air Force flights between the 10th and 15th were instrumental in keeping the U.S. death tol to just 27 from the destructive hurricane. The hurricane eventually struck eastern Long Island.
…1960…Hurricane Donna was making first of her four United States landfalls. Donna brought a 13 foot storm surge to the Florida Keys near Marathon.
…1961…Hurricane Carla was a monster threatening Texas with top winds of 150 mph. 46 people died in the storm in Texas.
…1964…Hurricane Dora forced the postponement of the Beatles concert in Jacksonville, Florida.
…1989…Hurricane Hugo was born off the coast of Africa.
It is the only shower left on the radar this evening.
Looked up driving downtown and saw a very tall cloud that was flattening out against the troposphere...that would be a thunderstorm...
Quick check of radar showed a small storm that pulsed up quickly and has already rained itself out west of Columbiana as it moved toward the Shelby County Airport Some folks in that area area probably got brief heavy rain.
A few isolated showers are over East Central Alabama in Clay and Talladega Counties, with one approaching extreme eastern Shelby County.
Another shower is west of Hamilton in Marion County.
Anyway, here is a look at Alabama weather before I head to supper.
The radar is quieting down on this September Saturday. A few light showers are over East Central Alabama. The showers over West Central Alabama have all but diminished. The showers over Northwest Alabama are just about gone.
So, things should remain partly cloudy through the evening hours.
Out in the Atlantic...Florence remains a tropical storm.
First is over the northwest corner of the state.
The other is over West Central Alabama, over parts of Fayette, Walker and northern Tuscaloosa Counties. The individual storms are rather small and isolated. They are pulse type storms that quickly rain themselves out.
Nothing threatening the University of Alabama campus where the Tide is hosting Vandy this afternoon.
Temperatures are generally in the 80s under partly cloudy skies, except in shower areas. It was 90 at Meridianville.
At 1:20, they extended from Lauderdale and Colbert Counties, down across Franklin and Lawrence Counties, then over Marion and into Walker and northern Tuscaloosa Counties.
The showers are having a hard time rising high enough to produce lightning and become thunderstorms. The one southeast of Fayette probably had a little lightning with it before it began to fade in the past couple of minutes.
The activity is moving generally northeast, especially over Northwest Alabma. The Fayette County activity was building back to the west a little.
A tropical postscript...Air Force reconnaissance in Florence found it was still not a hurricane. Top winds are still carried at 70 mph. The pressure was down to 991 mb from 993 mb last fix.
The Sunday map discussion video is on the web, and available on iTunes:
Don't forget that the map discussion is available in both WMV and MOV formats (Windows and Quicktime), so you have your choice for viewing.
Look for a mixture of clouds and sun today with a weak surface disturbance moving along the old boundary that lies along the Gulf coast this morning. In Central Alabama I believe that we'll only see isolated showers this afternoon and into the early evening but with enough clouds we could knock several degrees off the high temperatures today. Temperatures yesterday reached the upper 80s with a few spots topping out with 90 or 91 - Tuscaloosa was the warm spot with 91. Looks like most of the football games will be fine unless one of those isolated showers happens right over the field.
The upper air sounding last night from the Shelby County airport showed a fairly strong cap around 600 millibars, and I think that will help to inhibit showers today. However with the low level moisture and the weak wave riding along that boundary near the Gulf coast we can't completely discount the possibility for some showers.
Little change will occur in the weather pattern through the first of the week. However a strong short wave trough is forecast to develop over the central US and move our way on Monday and Tuesday. As it does a surface low in the central US will move northeastward and drag a cold front into Alabama on Tuesday. We should have a mostly cloudy day Tuesday with showers and thunderstorms likely. Timing is still a bit problematic, so showers could linger into Wednesday. But by Wednesday we expect the front to have cleared Central Alabama paving the way for a nice end to the week.
With a ridge in place on Thursday and Friday we should be dry.
The front on Tuesday is still not one of these clippers that is going to bring a significant air mass change with it. While the trough is strong and should help to usher in drier air, temperatures will not change much with afternoon highs still in the lower to mid 80s. The slight cool off plus drier air will make it feel nice though. And morning lows by Thursday could be threating some 50-degree readings.
Headed out shortly for a busy Saturday. I'm going to zip down the mountain to Oxford for a short visit to the Calhoun County Hamfest being held today from 9 am to about 4 pm at the Friendship Community Center. Then it's over to Hoover for the Pet-A-Polooza where I'll join Tracy Haynes for judging of the pet entries. I just love getting out and talking with folks so it's going to be an enjoyable day.
I'll try to be back here tomorrow morning before 9 am with the next web video map discussion. Have a great Saturday.